Author Topic: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?  (Read 11587 times)

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« on: December 21, 2015, 11:39:06 AM »
I generally put anything that ordinarily comes from the grocery store into "groceries" even if it came from Costco or Amazon. For instance, toilet paper, shampoo, and cleaners. My husband thinks I should put the massive hand soap refills from Costco (and similar) into a separate category so we can isolate food versus...the other consumables.

How are you folks doing it?

tarheeldan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 766
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 11:42:50 AM »
Absolutely, I also have a "personal care" category for stuff like shampoo and a "home supplies" category for dish soap etc.

matchewed

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4322
  • Location: CT
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 11:47:53 AM »
I think that's splitting hairs but whatever works for your family. Groceries are the things I buy with a fair amount of regularity. I'm not going to split off my once a quarter toilet paper purchase in order to know how much I spend on toilet paper. I just know it's not much.

Bigger fish to fry IMO and in my own life.

kathrynd

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 413
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 11:48:12 AM »
I consider all cleaning supplies, toiletries, laundry detergents to be in our grocery budget.
At most, it would be $10 month.




MsSindy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 535
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Philly Burbs
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 11:52:15 AM »
If you think you're spending too much on cleaners and other household items, then it would be a good idea to track it separately.  We have 2 adults and spend very little on this stuff - and it's all basic non-negotiables like TP, Bleach, deodorant, and Detergent.  Because I do buy (more) expensive shampoo/conditioner, I put that in my "beauty" budget along with the occasional haircut/pedi.  He uses Suave which is like $2, so it just goes with groceries - I can't be bothered with separating it out.  Figure out roughly what you spend on household stuff per year and get a monthly figure, then just add that to your monthly food/eating budget. 

Now, if you find you're buying a lot of frivolous stuff like fancy air fresheners and candles, then you may want to track it separately for a while until it becomes clear if you "have a problem" or not that you may need to address.

I get the reason you might want to put bulk items separately because of the cost, but then you'd be doing the same thing for that bulk chicken breast you got on sale and bought 20lbs worth!  I just make sure from month-to-month I'm averaging my budget and all is good.  If I see I'm trending up, then I stay away from places like Target/Costco until the averages come back down...and maybe throw in a few more bean/rice dishes instead of steak.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3436
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 01:40:03 PM »
I include paper products (TP, towels, tissues, muffin liners, foil) and cleaning supplies with my groceries. Those things are usually about $15/month out of our $230 for the category. I don't include personal care or cat supplies. It seems pretty arbitrary now, but it used to make a lot more sense since we previously split the costs differently - personal care was 50/50, groceries and cat supplies were 1/3-2/3, etc. Now we pay for everything either 50/50 or 100% depending, but we're used to categorizing things a certain way so we just leave it at that.

I don't think there's a right or wrong way to do it, but I do think it's valuable to at least know roughly what you're spending on cleaning stuff and other stuff versus just having a big mysterious money blob called "Groceries" that includes a gazillion unidentified transactions. Makes it a lot easier to pinpoint leaks and opportunities for improvement.

terran

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2022
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2015, 02:12:45 PM »
We've found that grocery (food) spending is pretty consistent, but what we call household (personal care, tinfoil, a picture frame, cleaning supplies, etc) is more "lumpy," so any unspent grocery money is released for rebudgeting at the end of the month, but household money is rolled over to cover months when we spend more. This is a new change, but seems to be working better so far.

v8rx7guy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1332
  • Location: Bellingham, WA
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 02:18:35 PM »
We combine those two categories since as you mentioned they are often purchased at the same place & same time.  Since we run a all cash budget this becomes an annoyance to try to separate the two at the register and ring them up as separate transactions.

Fuggled

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 02:26:24 PM »
We split food vs other stuff in our budget.  The big reason is that when we started budgeting, I suspected (correctly) that we were wasting a lot of money on food.  I wanted to have a clear picture of just the actual food spending.  We have young kids and buying diapers/pull-ups can make a big difference in grocery spending.  Also, getting into the habit of always splitting prevents me from letting a transaction some place like Target slip through that is $10 on food and $100 on clothes.

Let me say that we track actually spending in these categories, but we don't plan monthly spending to that level.  We have a set food target each month, but most other things that would come from a grocery store go into a Discretionary bucket.  If we started trying to plan spending in lots of different categories, it would become a hassle.

Alcohol is included with food in our budget, but I'm tempted to split it out also.  I think seeing that number by itself would encourage us to drink a little less.

zolotiyeruki

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3188
  • Location: State: Denial
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 02:35:55 PM »
We don't separate the two.  Paper products, detergents, diapers etc get included with the groceries.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 06:03:41 PM »
I break out Groceries, Consumables, Goods, and Entertainment (and other things, but these are the categories that might come from a grocery store).

Groceries - food items that are real food, whether purchased at a grocery store or in bulk
Consumables - things that get used up ("consumed") frequently, such as shampoos, TP, dish soap, and so forth (we almost never purchase these at a grocery store)
Goods - clothes, small appliances, and other things that I expect to last a few years
Entertainment - the obvious such as movies, but also alcohol and any snacky-foods that were taken to parties

Right now, I'm entering receipts manually into my spreadsheet, so it is not a big deal to break out one receipt into part Groceries and part Entertainment.

To me, it makes sense to break out food from other consumables to see what it really costs us to eat.  If we make more food at home, our restaurant spending should go down correspondingly, but consumables should remain similar.

I don't break out clothes from other goods, as I just don't spend enough on them for them to merit their own category.  I doubt that is a common choice.

Mongoose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2413
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 06:48:43 PM »
We tracked these separately when we were cutting costs but once our lower spending habits for items from the grocery store were set, we recombined them. I still occasionally spot check to make sure we are staying on track.

I also separated out a category for coffee, alcohol and chocolate for awhile. Breaking those out definitely dropped the consumption. We were spending an obscene amount on these, especially chocolate (take out desserts, ugh!), before we saw the numbers. We were definitely overindulging. If I remember correctly (shuffles in embarrassment) it was something like $5,000 a year for just that "indulgences" category.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9649
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 06:56:19 PM »
We have three major categories in this area:

Food -- In:  This is all groceries and most food consumed at home.

Food -- Out:  This is dining out/ordering in, including coffee shops, water/drinks/snacks purchase while outside the house, etc.

Household:  This is stuff like TP, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. as well as haircuts

In the Food -- In category I also went back to breaking it out by subcategory.  As with the poster above, this has been helpful in keeping spending on snacks/coffee/alcohol in line (those categories have a tendency to creep up if I am not tracking them).

It only takes me a few extra minutes to do the breakouts by category in my expense tracking spreadsheet, and the extra control on spending factor makes it definitely worth it.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 07:02:10 PM »
Of course I do. I don't eat soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. Groceries are food only.

Altons Bobs

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 327
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 10:54:53 PM »
We don't have a budget, we know generally how much we spend overall, that's good enough for us.

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2015, 12:06:31 AM »
I generally put anything that ordinarily comes from the grocery store into "groceries" even if it came from Costco or Amazon. For instance, toilet paper, shampoo, and cleaners. My husband thinks I should put the massive hand soap refills from Costco (and similar) into a separate category so we can isolate food versus...the other consumables.

How are you folks doing it?

I record toiletries and cleaning supplies bought at the grocery store as grocery expense. On the other hand, if for example Walgreens has a sale on paper towels, and I stop there just for the towels, I record that in miscellaneous.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2574
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2015, 03:58:03 AM »
I split basic supermarket (includes regular food and cleaning products) and extra supermarket (includes fancy food, alcohol, dvds etc bought from the supermarket). I split the supermarket run into two transactions, the first is basic and the second is everything else.

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5184
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2015, 06:35:42 AM »
We dont. We budget a 175$ a week for family of 6 for all stuff bought at grocery stores from toilet paper to groceries, softner salt etc... just keep the whole category simpler for us.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4003
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2015, 07:28:21 AM »
We divide like this:

Groceries (~500 a month)
Eating out (50-100/month)
Garden (varies, this is stuff to support vegetable gardening, so I lump it under food, but divide it out)

And totally seperately, we have Household Misc, which is toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, staples or tape or other misc office products, new dishrags or kitchen towels or tupperwares as needed, etc. 

andy85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1071
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Louisville, KY
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2015, 07:32:48 AM »
whatever is on the receipt is what i record (food, toiletries, can opener, etc.)...I'm not taking the time to break out my grocery receipt unless i bought something really out of the ordinary. Even if i make a run for toiletries only, I'm still putting it in the grocery category to be consistent.

I suppose if you think it is an area to trim, then you could break it out...otherwise, my time is more valuable watching cat videos.

Jschange

  • Guest
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2015, 11:39:43 AM »
Groceries includes toilet paper, cleaning stuff and laundry detergent because I usually buy it there and don't buy expensive versions of that stuff. It's Christmas, so several gifts have ended up in the grocery budget

Drugstore stuff (toiletries, makeup, otc medication, vitamins) is another category, because this is the main category I impulse buy. If toilet paper or laundry detergent is on a good sale, I'll spend drugstore stuff money on it

All eating and drinking out are in another budget.

With all that said, my budget numbers are rough. So I'm okay if 1 category has a high month, but if there's too many high months, I start cracking down on that category to see if my budget or my will power needs tweaking. One example is that in order to save about $200 a month in food out, my budget needs an extra $50/month in groceries.

Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2015, 12:13:53 PM »
I split up Costco (because it winds up being half food, and the other half diapers, kid stuff, garbage bags, cat litter and food, etc, and I like knowing how much the kid and the cat are actually costing us).

Other than that, I can't be bothered. 20$ one way or another (if it's on things that are actually needed!) don't make a huge difference at the end of the month.

monstermonster

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4305
  • Age: 32
  • Location: The People's Republic of Portland (Oregon)
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2015, 01:22:59 PM »
I split out:

Groceries (all food, $125/month on average with fluctuations for season/travel - this includes coffee beans)
Whiskey Pig (all liquor store & beer/wine purchases made at grocery store - $40/month)
Household goods (toothpaste, dish soap, toilet paper - $8/month)

ozbeach

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
  • Location: Australia
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2015, 01:29:46 PM »
My grocery budget includes everything I buy at the supermarket. I can't be bothered tracking cleaning products etc separately. I did separate alcohol from groceries however, as I feel I'm spending far too much on this and wanted to see the full number at the end of the year and shame myself into reducing it.

maco

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 422
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2015, 01:44:46 PM »
Reading most of these, I've been confused by the "I do separate alcohol" portion of comments. I forgot there are places where you can buy alcohol and groceries in the same store!

(I'm from Pennsylvania, known as the Quaker State for a reason, and my county in Maryland also has government stores for alcohol, I think. At least, I don't see it in Giant. Since I don't drink I haven't paid attention to how one gets boozmahol though)

Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2015, 01:48:13 PM »
Reading most of these, I've been confused by the "I do separate alcohol" portion of comments. I forgot there are places where you can buy alcohol and groceries in the same store!

(I'm from Pennsylvania, known as the Quaker State for a reason, and my county in Maryland also has government stores for alcohol, I think. At least, I don't see it in Giant. Since I don't drink I haven't paid attention to how one gets boozmahol though)

Oh, wow, yes! Here in Quebec, you can only get hard liquor and most wines at the SAQ (société des alcools du québec - they have a depot that's 15% off all booze, so we plan a trip there every 6 months or so). You can get beer at the grocery store and the corner store, but we don't drink beer, so... forgot that that was even an option!

monstermonster

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4305
  • Age: 32
  • Location: The People's Republic of Portland (Oregon)
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2015, 01:52:49 PM »
I was on food stamps for a long time, which you can't buy things like toothpaste & soup on and obviously can't buy alcohol on, so I've always naturally separated out those purchases.

Hank Sinatra

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2015, 01:59:04 PM »
I generally put anything that ordinarily comes from the grocery store into "groceries" even if it came from Costco or Amazon. For instance, toilet paper, shampoo, and cleaners. My husband thinks I should put the massive hand soap refills from Costco (and similar) into a separate category so we can isolate food versus...the other consumables.

How are you folks doing it?

I keep groceries (FOOD!) separate. The other stuff people usually buy when they are "grocery shopping"  like toothpaste,  floss, after shave, aluminum foil, saran wrap and all the other ongoing  nit-noi items needed to maintain a life, I account for under "Sundries".

At one time (years ago) I did lump everything under groceries because I bought  them at the supermarket. (Usually. Sometimes a drug store, sometimes Target) and mentally it was like all one trip. Then one year I was going over my budget and couldn't believe I actually spent that much on food. I realized it wasn't all food but I had no idea how much was food and how much was aftershave and dental floss. So I started breaking it out separately.

celticmyst08

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 382
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2015, 02:02:29 PM »
I separate out everything. We have a lot of budget categories but I like to track everything super closely. We do most of our shopping at Fred Meyer so we get all kinds of stuff there. The main categories are groceries, household, personal care, pets, and alcohol. Occasionally clothing.

use2betrix

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1701
Re: Budgeting: do you separate food versus other groceries?
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2015, 02:17:33 PM »
I consider everything I regularly buy at the grocery store part of my grocery budget. If hand soap gets in, that's fine.

These items constitute around .2% of my yearly budget. I have bigger fish to fry.